Attitudes of Non-Asthmatic Children Towards Their Asthmatic Peers: Influence of interactions with asthmatic relatives and peers

Mohammad Al-Motlaq, Nihaya Al-Sheyab


Objectives: This study aimed to examine non-asthmatic children’s acceptance of and attitudes towards their asthmatic peers in Jordan. Methods: This descriptive cross-sectional study was conducted between September 2015 and January 2016 among 1,812 non-asthmatic children aged 9–13 years old at 10 schools in Zarqa, Jordan. Arabic versions of the Peers Attitude Towards Children with Asthma scale and the Asthma Knowledge Test for Children were used to assess attitudes towards children with asthma and asthma-related knowledge, respectively. Results: A total of 1,586 children participated in the study (response rate: 87.5%). Of these, 158 (10%) and 399 (25.2%) children reported a family history of asthma or knew at least one person with asthma, respectively. Although 50.3% stated that they would sit next to such children in the classroom, only 34.9% reported that they would be friends with an asthmatic child. However, 73.1% of the non-asthmatic children believed that asthmatic children were not pretending to be ill and 61.4% believed that such children were not ill due to their own carelessness. Female non-asthmatic children (P <0.001), those with a family history of asthma (P = 0.004) and those who knew other individuals with asthma (P <0.001) had significantly more positive attitudes
towards and acceptance of their asthmatic peers. In addition, age was significantly related to attitude scores (P <0.001). However, there was no correlation between asthma-related knowledge and the children’s attitudes towards peers with asthma (P = 0.611). Conclusion: Previous interactions with asthmatic family members or peers were found to significantly influence non-asthmatic children’s attitudes towards their asthmatic peers.

Keywords: Asthma; Children; Attitudes; Knowledge; Jordan.

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Sultan Qaboos University Medical Journal, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, Sultan Qaboos University, PO Box 35, Postal Code 123, Al-Khod, Muscat, Oman

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